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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

in        THE CHURCH OF SS. SBRGIUS AND BACCHUS        71
design has not been followed with strict accuracy, and the result Is that both the enclosing square and the interior octagon are very irregular figures. Furthermore, the two portions of the building have not the same orientation, so that the octagon stands askew within its rectangular frame. How this lack of symmetry should be explained, whether due to sloven work or the result of the effort to adapt the church to the lines of the earlier church of SS. Peter and Paul, with which it was united, is difficult to decide.
The court which stands before the Turkish portico in front of the west side of the building represents the old atrium of the church, and to the rear of the portico is still found the ancient narthex. At the south end of the narthex is a stone staircase leading to the gallery. The arch at the foot of the staircase is built of fragments from the old ciborium or eikonostasis of the church. The great height (0.24 metre or 9 inches) of the steps is found, according to Mr. Antoniadi, also in S. Sophia.
The exterior walls, which are mostly in brick and rubble masonry, exhibit poor workmanship, and have undergone considerable repair, especially on the east. On the south there are two thicknesses of walling. The outer thickness has arched recesses at intervals along its length, corresponding to openings in the inner thickness, and thus while buttressing the latter also enlarges slightly the area of the church. The length of the rectangular enclosure from west to east is 101 feet, with an average breadth of 77^- feet from north to south, excluding the recesses in the latter direction.
All the windows of the church have been altered by Turkish hands, and are rectangular instead of showing semicircular heads.
The passage intervening between the rectangular enclosure and the octagon is divided into two stories, thus providing the church with an ambulatory below and a gallery above.
The domed octagon which forms the core of the building stands at a distance of some i8|- feet from the rectangle within which it is placed. It measures 53^ feet by 50^ feet. The eight piers at its angles rise to a height of 33! feet